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BEWARE OF THE CHANGING MARKET PART II

By: Rabbi Max Anteby

Last month, we addressed two types of changing market conditions – The Dead End and The Cliff. In this month’s installment, we look at two other, less onerous, types of market conditions that also must be considered.

THE PLATEAU

A Plateau is actually a form of Dead End, since once you reach a Plateau, there is no other place to go. The major difference is that a Plateau might provide certain advantages that make it worthwhile to remain there. It might be comfortable, or offer a nice view or a pleasant environment.

In the career sense, a Plateau happens when your career has little or no potential for income enhancement, but you want to stay there nonetheless. Upward mobility is an important ingredient of a successful career, but in some situations, its importance may be eclipsed by other intangible factors such as job satisfaction, job security and altruism.

The following are examples of people who might decide that the benefits of their current job compensate for the lack of future growth:

•         A person who is earning enough to support his family and enjoys his job greatly.

•         A person who is nearing the end of his working career and prefers not to make a major life change.

•         A person who is working in a family business and wants to keep the business in the family.

It is perfectly acceptable to remain in a Plateau, provided that two conditions are met:

•         You have a compelling reason to stay at the Plateau. Fear of change or failure is not a compelling reason.

•         You are earning enough to support your family.

The decision to stay at a Plateau usually involves values, not just finances, and it might be advisable to consult with da’at Torah (rabbinic authority) before making that decision.

THE DIP

A Dip is when your income is either declining or stagnating, but there is more earning potential in your field that you are not accessing. Unlike a Dead End, a Dip can be successfully navigated by making relatively minor career adjustments, and is usually not a cause for serious concern.

A Dip can be caused by any challenge that isn’t allowing you to earn as much as others in your field. It’s usually a sign that you need to improve your skills, both soft and hard, work harder, become more efficient, or even move to a different company. But you don’t have to – and shouldn’t – abandon the type of work you’re doing.

Switching to a new company or job is a risky step and one that should be taken with caution, since you never know how things will work out. If you have already spoken with your employer, and neither he nor the company is able to allow you to advance, then it might be a choice of last resort. Remember – in a Dip, you might only need to change jobs, if necessary, but not a career. Treating a Dip as if you were at a Dead End might just be running away from an issue that will stay with you even in a different career. Dips are common and will occur from time to time in every career. Carefully examine your own work habits and be sure the Dip is because of outside factors and not a result of your individual performance.

It takes a lot of stamina, hard work, ingenuity and introspection to get through a Dip successfully. It means seeing what you can do differently in order to increase your scarcity, advance your career and increase income. Many people don’t bother navigating Dips, and either move on to another career or settle for mediocrity in what they’re doing. Don’t fall into that trap. Be bold, drive hard.